chapter  13
19 Pages

Self-help and support groups for people with cluttering: Kathleen Scaler Scott and Kenneth O. St. Louis


Self-help and support groups vary in how much they are oriented toward behavior change, support, education, and/or advocacy. In the purest use of these terms, self-help groups are focused on personal change effected through a specific program, but not facilitated by professionals, whereas support groups tend to focus only on emotional support, advocacy, and education, and may be facilitated by professionals. Despite these differences, the goals of self-help and support groups tend to vary along continua of degrees of personal change orientation and professional involvement (Farris Kurtz, 1997). Modern self-help groups had their origins with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in 1935. The original impetus for AA groups was to help with a problem that the medical profession alone could not solve. Since the first AA self-help groups, the number and type of self-help and support groups has grown dramatically both within the United States and internationally (Farris Kurtz, 1997). Currently such groups are available for a large number of communication disorders providing adjunct and/or alternative help beyond traditional speech-language therapy and offering perspectives that are often not experienced in individual therapy. For example, although a speech-language pathologist (SLP) who does not clutter very likely can have some understanding of the struggles associated with cluttering, the SLP may lack authentic appreciation or empathy toward the subjective feelings and experiences of someone who clutters in daily life. Of course, this is also true of any communication disorder.